Most kids aren’t big fans of green vegetables once they’ve passed the pureed baby food stages of life. In order to prove to myself that I’m a mom who makes an effort, I’ve found some sneaky ways to work them into our diet.
Here are my 3 Tips and Easy Recipes:
1. Make a green drink
I admit, the idea of salad in a blender didn’t appeal to me at first, my kid isn’t the only one who is resistant to vegetables. Maybe it’s all my fault for eating too many donuts when I was pregnant with him. Finally, I broke down and tried it after hearing from other moms the wonder of getting kids to eat greens in a smoothie.
You can use kale (if you’re brave and like bitter things) or spinach (which I prefer because of the milder flavor). Experiment with the amount of spinach, I have found that too much can ruin it, a little goes a long way. Also, banana or super sweet fruit is the key to masking the flavor of the greens.
These two recipes make one adult serving or two small servings for kids.
Smoothie Recipe #1: Green Chocolate Milkshake
Half a frozen banana
A handful of spinach
1 T of peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 T of cocoa powder
1 t of maple syrup
½ cup of milk (more or less depending on desired thickness)
Smoothie Recipe #2: Sweet Green Monster
½ of a frozen banana
A handful of spinach
¼ cup of pineapple
¼ cup of frozen strawberries
1 T of orange juice concentrate
½ cup of water
2. Green Mashed Potatoes
Boil four large potatoes or half potatoes and half cauliflower
Saute half a bag of spinach, add a little garlic and onion to it if you’re feeling fancy.
Puree this mixture in the food processor.
Instead of spinach, you can also boil half broccoli and half potatoes if you prefer.
Add spinach to the potatoes
Add 2-4 T of butter and ¼-1/3 cup of milk
Mash all together. Use a Kitchen-Aid, hand mixer or hand held masher.
3. Red Light, Green Light Pasta
Add sautéed, pureed spinach to a jar of your favorite pasta sauce.
Stir it into some whole grain, high protein or gluten-free penne pasta
Once it’s done, if you put a blind-fold on your kiddo, he won’t even know there is anything different about the sauce. If not and he sees the green you can tell him it’s spinach or just say “spices”.
There you have it, folks! These have all been kid-tested and approved in my house. That said, every kid is different, so results may vary. You can always use these ideas to get a jump start and experiment with your own recipe making. When it comes to smoothies in particular, there are so many things to try.
A good way to get children excited to eat this stuff is to have them help make it. My son puts the spinach in the blender and pours in the water. Then some magic voodoo happens that makes him want to try what he’s made. He’s even started saying, “can we have lettuce in our smoothie?”
If you have good tips for getting kids to eat more greens, feel free to share in the comments section. I’m always looking for new things to try.
Post written by Melissa Uhles
Melissa is a freelance writer-for-hire and the author of three novels and a children’s picture book. She’s co-founder and writer for Pen and Parent. In addition, she’s been published online at The Pennyhoarder, Rage Against the Minivan, and Red Tricycle. To find out more, you can visit her blog here https://penandparent.com/